Olympic cycling champion Victoria Pendleton, who revealed last month that she has set her sights on becoming an amateur jockey, has left the ground for the first time.
Victoria, who is Britain’s most successful female Olympian, is aiming at riding in Foxhunter at the Cheltenham Festival next season.
Victoria is now practicing with short stirrups and a racing saddle and has been training over small jumps. Despite having a couple of tumbles, she said her confidence has not been knocked and she’s so far ridden seven different horses in the past six weeks.
She said that riding has become a “huge part of my life”.
“It’s all I want to do when I wake up. We’ve begun to work with a racing saddle and are shortening the stirrups as we fast-track my progress,” added Victoria.
Yogi has earmarked some charity Flat races in early July for Victoria, but the World and Olympic champion said the next big goal will be regularly riding out at amateur jump yards.
“Betfair has provided me with the opportunity to do an intensive course at the British Racing School in Newmarket, which will round off my initial training period and hopefully put me in a position to begin riding out by June at the latest,” she explained.
Yogi Breisner added: “Victoria is exactly where we need her to be in our training plan. She’s a pleasure to work with, very keen to learn and has a lot of natural attributes that have helped massively in her swift development.”
Over the next 12 months Victoria will work towards obtaining a category A amateur licence — which will involve her riding in point-to-points with the aim of taking part in the Foxhunter in 2016.
The challenge has been set up by Betfair, to provide an “unexpected and entertaining perspective on horseracing, while also profiling the skills, athleticism and courage faced by jockeys every day”.